Siddharth Vashishtha alias Manu Sharma — who is serving a life term in the Jessica Lal murder case — walked out of the Tihar Central Jail here on a court-granted parole on Sunday, becoming the third high profile convict to be released from jail this month on different grounds.
Former youth Congress leader Sushil Sharma, whose death sentence in the sensational Tandoor murder case was commuted to a life term in October by the Supreme Court, was also granted a parole, albeit by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi two weeks ago.
Another high profile inmate to leave the jail this month was former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala who is currently under treatment for a heart-related ailment at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. The Indian National Lok Dal leader, who landed in Tihar in the beginning of this year after a local court sentenced him and nine others (including his son Ajay Chautala) to 10-year jail term in a teachers’ recruitment scam.
The Jail authorities told The Hindu that on December 18, the Delhi High Court granted nine days’ parole to Manu for appearing in the examinations for a post-graduate degree. This was with a rider that he would write his papers at a centre in Delhi. Prior to this, the 36-year-old had sought parole from the Delhi government but it took no decision on that and kept the matter in abeyance, his application before the court had submitted.
On Mr. Chautala, Manu’s fellow inmate in Jail Number 2 of Tihar, jail sources said that after he complained of heart-related complications, he was rushed to Lohia Hospital where he is being treated. Some policemen have been deployed along with him and restrictions posed on timing of visitors. A senior jail official added that he was not being allowed home-cooked meal.
In July this year, Mr. Chautala was granted bail on health grounds, the period of which was extended in August once. In the following month, however, the Supreme Court observed that the opinion of a high-level medical board was that his hospitalisation was no more required at that point of time, as earlier reported in the media.
The board was constituted to file a report giving specific answer to whether Mr. Chautala needed hospitalisation or not. Consequently, the plea seeking the extension of Mr. Chautala’s bail was dismissed and he was sent back to jail.
His son Ajay’s bail, also granted on health grounds, has been extended multiple times in the recent past, the latest being in December.
Sushil, who has already been in Tihar for the past 18 years, was granted a parole on the grounds that he had to attend to his elderly parents, said the jail authorities.